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HP Spectre x360 (late 2016) review: HP's best hybrid hangs onto its last USB port

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The Good The new HP Spectre x360 is a durable, stylish and light machine with a comfortable keyboard, touchpad, long battery life and a crisp backflipping touchscreen. Extras include excellent speakers, USB-C charging and Windows Hello face login.

The Bad Only one full-size USB port. No HDMI output or SD card slot. The fan is noisy and spins up frequently. The size tradeoff doesn't justify the missing features.

The Bottom Line The new HP Spectre x360 is an excellent laptop with a lot to offer in a small package, but it's only incrementally better than the previous model, and leaves out some useful features.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Battery 8

Review Sections

If your laptop could be thinner, lighter and smaller with the same great battery life and performance, would you celebrate? Or complain about all the missing ports?

That's not a rhetorical question, it's the deciding factor when you consider the latest version of the HP Spectre x360.

Earlier this year, I called the 13-inch Spectre x360 one of my favorite laptops, because it didn't force me to compromise. It offered powerful processors, long battery life, a beautiful backflipping hybrid screen, a relatively thin aluminum frame plus enough ports to plug in two monitors, a mouse, keyboard, a USB thumb drive and my camera's SD card simultaneously.

hp-spectre-x360-late-2016-2393-001.jpg

The HP Spectre x360 has slimmed down.

Josh Miller/CNET

Starting at $1,049 or AU$2,299 (UK availability TBD) the new, slightly revamped version of the HP Spectre x360 is just as good in almost every way -- but it's missing a lot of those ports. Like Apple with its new MacBook Pro, HP chose thinness over utility.

HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)

Price as reviewed $1,099 in the US, AU$2,299 in Australia
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 touch-display
PC CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
PC Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz
Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Personally, I'd buy last year's laptop. The same point goes for last year's MacBook Pro if you need HDMI or USB-A ports. But I'm not you. Here's what you need to know about HP's new Spectre to make the right call.

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